Imperial College London

Dr James A Bull

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 5811j.bull Website




501bMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus





Dr James A Bull is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry.

Dr Bull’s research focuses on the development of efficient synthetic and catalytic methods to access novel structural motifs and heterocycles of interest in drug discovery.

Group Webpages

For further details of the Bull group, see:

Biographical details

James Bull graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2001 with a First Class Honours MSci degree in Natural Sciences, Chemistry and the Raphael Prize for Organic Chemistry. He then spent a year working at GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage as a Research Scientist in the Medicinal Chemistry Department.

He returned to Cambridge in 2003 to undertake PhD research with Professor Steven V Ley. He completed the total synthesis of bisoxazole antifungal natural product bengazole A and analogues.

In 2007 he joined the group of Professor André B. Charette as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Université de Montréal, Canada. Here he developed an intramolecular Simmons-Smith cyclopropanation reaction.

In 2009 he began independent research at Imperial College London as a Ramsay Memorial Research Fellow (2009-2011), working in the laboratories of Professor Alan Armstrong. From 2011 to 2015 Dr Bull held an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship on "Novel strategies to access chiral heterocycles as potential lead compounds in drug discovery". In January 2016 Dr Bull started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

Group News

August 2019: Sahra's paper on intramolecular C-H functionalisation of aldehydes with transient directing groups is out in Chem Commun.

August: Check out our recent reviews on C–H functionalisation using base metal catalysis, by Sahra, and the C–H functionalisation of saturated heterocycles by Daniele. 

August 2019: Ed paper on the synthesis of sulfonimidamides by NH/O transfer is accepted in Angew. Chem. 

August 2019: Out paper on catalytic Friedel-Crafts reactions on small rings and heterocycles is out now in Eur. J. Org. Chem, as part of the Heterocycles special issue. 

April 2019: Maryne's paper on azetidine sulfides is out in JOC, continuing our collaboration with Pfizer on small ring synthesis in new chemical space.

April 2019: Well done Seb, for your paper on ADT thermal decomposition out in J. Org. Chem. 

March 2019: Maryne wins a prize for her talk at the SCI PG symposium south.

March 2019: Alex's paper on azetidine ring expansion is out in Org Lett!

December 2018: Maryne and Camille's work on azetidine Friedel-Crafts reactions is accepted in Org Lett! 

December 2018: Alex's paper on the synthesis of diverse N-heterocycles by diazo–heterocycle 'stitching' is accepted in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Congratulations!

December 2018: Rosie's Science of Synthesis Chapter on Oxetanes and Oxetan-3-ones is published. 

November 2018: Sahra, Alex, Dani and Maryne win prizes!

September 2018: Chemistry starts in our new White City Labs!

September 2018: Sahra's paper on the palladium catalysed C-H arylation of amines with transient directing groups is accepted in Chem Eur J. 

September 2018: James wins the Dave Kelly Cup at the Gregynog Synthesis Meeting.

June 2018: Daniele's work on the C-H functionalisation of N-heterocycles is out now in Org. Lett. Congratulations.

May 2018: Sahra's review on transient directing groups for C-H functionalisation is online in Org. Biomol. Chem., and a 'Hot Article'.

Also see: @jamesabull



Briggs E, Tota A, Colella M, et al., 2019, Synthesis of sulfonimidamides from sulfenamides via an alkoxy-amino-λ6-sulfanenitrile intermediate, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Vol:58, ISSN:1433-7851, Pages:14303-14310

Antermite D, Bull JA, 2019, Transition Metal-Catalyzed Directed C(sp(3))-H Functionalization of Saturated Heterocycles, Synthesis-stuttgart, Vol:51, ISSN:0039-7881, Pages:3171-3204

St John-Campbell S, Bull JA, 2019, Intramolecular palladium(ii)/(iv) catalysed C(sp3)–H arylation of tertiary aldehydes using a transient imine directing group, Chemical Communications, Vol:55, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:9172-9175

Dubois MAJ, Lazaridou A, Choi C, et al., 2019, Synthesis of 3-Aryl-3-Sulfanyl Azetidines by Iron-Catalyzed Thiol Alkylation with N-Cbz Azetidinols, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Vol:84, ISSN:0022-3263, Pages:5943-5956

Green SP, Payne AD, Wheelhouse KM, et al., 2019, Diazo-Transfer Reagent 2-Azido-4,6-dimethoxy-1,3,5-triazine Displays Highly Exothermic Decomposition Comparable to Tosyl Azide, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Vol:84, ISSN:0022-3263, Pages:5893-5898

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